Electronic Design

High-Speed Fiber-Optic MAN Allows Customer Provisioning On-The-Fly

As service providers and private enterprises expand their bandwidth to keep pace with user demands, a major bottleneck is being formed between the network edge and the backbone. This bottleneck is causing severe underuse of the backbone, which has traditionally itself been the bottleneck. To get around this limitation, gigabit-rate metropolitan area networks (MANs) have sprung up with the ability to shovel data from the enterprise/provider directly to the backbone. To date, however, these networks have been slow and expensive to deploy. But that is changing fast.

Commercial availability of managed gigabit services running over optical networks has been made possible by Telseon Inc., Palo Alto, Calif. The service is typically used to link multiple hosting sites, enterprises, and application providers and ISPs within a metropolitan area. It's expected to provide extremely secure, high-speed and instantly scalable connectivity—with twice the bandwidth at half the cost of other networks.

Telseon's connections are formed by "dark" fiber-optic networks. Coupling existing fiber networks with plug-and-play networking technology satisfies the demand for speedy, customer-controlled provisioning. The company's flagship product—LogicalWire IP data service—can connect multiple service locations within just a few days. An OC-3 line takes three to six months.

Through the use of Telseon's web-based tools, customers can adjust their own bandwidth availability. This allows them to handle changing traffic requirements in real time. A secure web interface lets users set bandwidth from 1 Mbit/s to 100 Mbits/s in increments as small as 1 Mbit/s. It also provides a window into past and current network usage to help them manage their demand. As a result, they merely pay for what they need, and can reduce costs during quiet periods.

According to a study by Forrester Research, 44% of Global 2500 subscribers see a bandwidth shortage at the network's edge—i.e., in the local loop. Half of these users expect their bandwidth demands to double in two years, making the need for a solution critical.

John Kane, cofounder of Telseon, explains, "Enterprise LANs and service providers (like level 3 and others) run very high-speed networks, but connecting the two in a metropolitan area has always been expensive and difficult. That's led to a bandwidth bottleneck that's usually addressed by an ATM solution. Rather than try to incrementally bring down the cost of legacy systems, we're using modern fiber-optic technology and our unique control and management software to dramatically reset the economics of bandwidth."

Incyte Genomics Inc., Garage.com, Flycast Communications Corp., and others are currently taking advantage of the service. So far, it has been contracted for use in more than 80 co-location facilities. It is now available in the San Francisco Bay area, with 20 metropolitan markets scheduled to go online by the end of the year.

For more information, contact Telseon Inc. at (888) 858-8032, or visit www.telseon.com.

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